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    El Rancho Marketplace Opens in San Obispo County

    The Pismo Beach, Calif. store is the grocer’s second

    El Rancho Marketplace has opened a new grocery store serving the Pismo Beach, Grover Beach, Arroyo Grande, Oceano, and Shell Beach areas of California’s San Luis Obispo County, thanks to financing from California FreshWorks Fund, LLC.

    “FreshWorks has been instrumental in making this dream possible, and we are thrilled with [the] opportunity that they have given us,” said Alfred Holzheu, an owner of El Rancho Marketplace. “Already, between full and part time employees, we have hired almost 140 employees. Plus, we are establishing relationships with local farmers and ranchers, including the students at Cal Poly.”

    The FreshWorks Fund provided El Rancho the flexible financing it needed to purchase equipment and inventory for its new $3.6 million store. The result is a 39,000-plus square-foot market that features well-priced staple foods, natural goods and an in-house deli that makes many items from scratch. Local growers and food producers, with whom El Rancho has fostered strong relationships, will also benefit from the new store with the grocer's strong commitment to local suppliers, according to the Fresh Works Fund.

    “Not only is El Rancho Marketplace a family owned business buying fresh, local produce,” said Scott Sporte, chief lending officer at NCB Capital Impact, which manages the California FreshWorks Fund, “it is also stabilizing a local shopping area by replacing a grocery store that closed earlier in the year—displacing workers and forcing residents to travel farther to buy fresh food.”

    California FreshWorks Fund, LLC is a loan pool that combines commercial and philanthropic capital to provide flexible financing for new and expanding grocery stores. The loan pool is just one of the many financing tools of the California FreshWorks Fund, a grant and loan fund that has invested more than $18 million in California healthy food projects in the last 12 months, with more than $200 million in lending and grants to follow in the next few years. Last year, Chase committed $32.5 million to help create the fund and is the FreshWorks Fund LLC's lead bank.

    El Rancho is a family-owned, independent grocer that has operated a store in Solvang for over 40 years. Founded by a German immigrant butcher, El Rancho Marketplace has developed a strong reputation for quality fresh meats and local produce. This new Pismo Beach store is El Rancho’s second supermarket serving California’s central coast.
     

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